Drip... Drip... Drip...

If your home is right next to a stream or pond, you can probably connect what you throw away with what ends up in the water. Even if you live farther from the river, your actions around the house affect how much clean water we all enjoy. Here are some personal actions that are kinder to our waters. Keep Household Trash and Pollution out of the Water. Many common household chemicals, from paint to detergent to furniture polish, can harm water-loving animals if they reach rivers, streams, or lakes. Here's how to keep that from happening. Buy only what you need. This way, you won't have to dispose of a nearly full gallon of cleaning substances that you discovered doesn't really do the job you intended. Buy biodegradable or phosphate-free products.

Try natural alternatives to caustic chemicals. This will not only protect the water but will protect you and whoever uses the products around the house. For more information, you may view a chart of natural alternatives. Follow manufacturer's directions. Dispose of excess household products as directed by the local sanitation or water company, such as taking to a special collection station. This includes paint, car oil, leftover pesticides and other household chemicals.

Every gallon saved also saves in electric pumping and treatment costs for the utility providing your water, which keeps everyone's water bill lower. Fix drippy or leaking plumbing promptly. One drip can waste hundreds of gallons of water a week. A "running" toilet often wastes about 250 gallons a day! . Check toilets for hidden leaks. If food coloring placed in the tank leaks into the bowl within about 15 minutes, you have a leak to fix. When replacing plumbing fixtures, install low-flow showers and toilets. Such devices are much more efficient and effective than just a few years ago.